Script consultant UK looks back on Near Dark (1987)

As the busiest UK script consultant, script writer for hire and script doctor in the business I spend a lot of time watching movies from the past, especially classics like Kathryn Bigelow’s Near Dark (1987)

Kathryn is truly a great director – but what I find interesting about her career is that I find Near Dark and her arty debut The Loveless much better films than The Hurt Locker (which she directed and which won the Best Picture Oscar).

Kathryn proved herself a top director from the off, in arty films, horror and then after Near Dark she showed she was a better director of action and suspense than most male directors with the always entertaining 90s action classic Point Break.

As a director she has one of the most interesting CVs in the last 30 years (and not just because she’s a female filmmaker either) – her versatility can take her anywhere.  What I hope is that it takes her back to more films like Near Dark.

Near Dark is a lovely, romantic horror film. Arty, filled with gore and featuring a great cast (with a familiar feel to fans of James Cameron’s Aliens). The film is serious horror, in that it doesn’t joke about with the genre or characters. This isn’t grindhouse horror – its art-house horror.  At the time this film was made horror wasn’t usually taking things this seriously – or making films with this level of commitment to the genre.

As well as being lovely to look at and featuring some great performances (the late Bill Paxton has never been better) the film also has a great soundtrack by Tangerine Dream the German composers who also did the iconic soundtrack to William Freidkin’s underrated masterpiece Sorcerer (1977).

This didn’t have a massive budget, I don’t think it was a huge hit, but it’s grown over the years.  And once seen, you’ll never forget it.  The mark of a great film – from a great female director.

Matthew Cooper has been a script writer for hire  and script doctor for over 20 years. He’s written for most of the UK soaps, including writing award winning episodes of Emmerdale, EastEnders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs and has been BAFTA shortlisted and Royal Television Society nominated as a script writer. He’s also a leading UK script consultant. You can find some of his broadcast credits on the IMDb. You can get in touch with Matthew on or hire him on Peopleperhour

His directorial debut Markham will be released in 2019.